Tag Archives: Sega

Juuouki

Reviews
Altered Beast - Title Screen
Hardware: Arcade
06/1988 (Japan), 08/1988 (US)
獣王記
Chronicle of The Beast King
Altered Beast
While Altered Beast is not Sega's entry in the beat-em-up genre (that honor goes to the Master System/Mark III Hokuto no Ken/Fist of the Northstar game), it is the first entry into the genre for them using an original property. Sega was already known for their high quality arcade games (at least on average) at this point, but they were entering into a genre that had some real heavy hitters in recent years (most notably Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun/Renegade and Double Dragon, both from Technos Japan). Would Altered Beast innovate in the brawler genre the same way Sega had innovated with some of their other arcade games? Continue Reading

Mr. Video Games – Eric Martin and Game/Japanese Music

Features
Mr. Vocalist - Eric Martin with Guitar before To Be With You
Almost anyone that knows Eric Martin undoubtedly knows him as the singer for the rock band Mr. Big, that enjoyed such popularity in the early 90s for their mega hit "To Be With You". Though they largely disappeared from the consciousness of the American music scene afterward, their popularity in Japan hasn't really diminished. They still exist as a band today, and on the occasion that they do play in the US, you'll usually find them at clubs. When they go to Japan, they sell out the Budokan. I could argue all day long about how "To Be With You" is not very representative of the band's signature sound, and how they deserved to be far more popular in the US than they were, but I'm not here to talk about Mr. Big. I'm here to talk specifically about Eric Martin, and how he's become a small but stand-out part of not only video game music, but Japanese music in general. Continue Reading

Persona 5

Reviews
Persona 5 - Title Screen
Hardware: PlayStation 4/PlayStation 3
09/15/2016 (Japan), 02/14/2017 (US and PAL)
ペルソナ5
An eight to ten year gap between mainline games in the Shin Megami Tensei family (Persona included) is not unusual. Persona 4 was a PlayStation 2 title released in 2008, basically two years into the life of the PlayStation 3. This odd release decision didn't stop P4 from successfully continuing the Persona legacy of being a cult RPG favorite in the west, that the series had really maintained since 3. Persona 5 was almost released in the same way: It was announced for release on the PlayStation 3 in 2014 (the same year that the PlayStation 4 launched in Japan), but the following year saw the platform changed to both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. We'll never know how things would have gone for P5 if it had remained only on the PS3, in an era where it's becoming an increasingly ridiculous idea for your average gamer to keep anything older than the current generation of console hardware hooked to their TV. Continue Reading

Vanquish

Reviews
Hardware: PlayStation 3, XBox 360
10/21/2010 (Japan), 10/19/2010 (US), 10/22/2010 (PAL)
ヴァンキッシュ
Both PlatinumGames and Shinji Mikami had a lot of eyes on them in 2010. Platinum was still a young studio with only three releases to their name, and were already showing a trend of developing games that were critical darlings but commercial failures. Famed Director Shinji Mikami (primarily of Resident Evil fame) had been out of the spotlight for awhile, the last game he directed being the 2006 PlayStation 2 beat-em-up God Hand with Capcom funded Clover Studios (whose staff largely became PlatinumGames after they were shut down). He had left Capcom completely after that, announcing that he was opening his own small studio called Straight Story. This studio would prove to be nothing more than one established to work with Platinum (as a contract employee) on a single game though, that game being Vanquish. There were many who were very curious as to how Platinum's next title, and Mikami's first non-Capcom affiliated title, would turn out. Continue Reading

Phantasy Star Nova

Reviews
Hardware: Vita
11/27/2014 (Japan)
ファンタシースター ノヴァ
Ever since the release of the original Phantasy Star Online in 2000, each Phantasy Star game has been basically cut from the original PSO template with paper thin stories just to create some purpose for player actions. After all, the real appeal of these games was the multi-player aspect from the start, so who really cared about things like story? That's why it was so strange when Phantasy Star Nova was announced in 2013 as being a heavily story focused, primarily single-player entry in the PSO family. By this point Sega had probably forgotten that Phantasy Star had an identity before it went online, because it brought about a lot of hope from old fans of the series that this might finally be the return of the original Phantasy Star series in some way. It doesn't come as much of a surprise that those hopes were very misplaced. Continue Reading
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